Two seminars are devoted to exploring the major methodological approaches to the theory and practice of interpretation as framed through the cultural and intellectual thought-ways of the West. Particular attention will be given to examining the strategies and preconceptions at work as Western thinkers view, present, and attempt to interpret Buddhist texts and practices.

The two courses examine the origins, aims, and scope of foundational Western philosophical approaches (Platonism, empiricism, rationalism, pragmatism, linguistic, existentialism, phenomenology, psychoanalysis, poststructuralism) through their primary texts. The course attempts to understand these approaches as “lenses” through which Buddhism is interpreted in the West, and as potential hermeneutical “tools” for bringing Buddhist ideas and concepts into a deep dialogue with the Western mind.

Selected Readings from Comparative Hermeneutics

Rene Descartes
David Hume
G.W.H. Hegel
Karl Marx
Arthur Schopenhauer
Friedrich Nietzsche
William James
Sigmund Freud
Carl Jung
Edmund Husserl
Martin Heidegger
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Jean-Paul Sartre
Jacques Lacan
Pierre Hadot
Jean-François Lyotard
Gilles Deleuze
Luce Irigaray
Judith Butler